Senate Education Committee advances corporal punishment reform

After a rather confusing, and at times, troubling debate, the Senate Education Committee approved House Bill 442, the corporal punishment reform bill, this morning.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, all this modest little bill does is:

1) Require school officals to try and contact parents before administering corporal punishment,

2) Give parents the option of signing a form at the beginning of the school year to direct that their child or children not be subjected to corporal punishment, and

3) Require local school officials to keep records and statistics on the kids they hit.

Of course, these provisions would not apply to the many counties that have already banned the practice.

As is almost always the case with these discussions in the legislature, the debate featured numerous somewhat disturbing moments in which lawmakers “joked” about the beatings they or other legislators had received while growing up.

Perhaps the low point in the debate, however, came when one senator related that he was opposed to the bill because his wife, a third grade teacher, opposed it.

Got that? A woman who teaches eight and nine year olds is opposed to the idea of giving parents a veto over her striking their children or going to the “trouble” of calling them before she does so.

That argument alone ought to be grounds for passing the bill immediately.

One Comment

  1. Kimberly

    June 10, 2009 at 11:26 am

    In my opinion, no one has a right to strike a child. Violence always perpetuates violence and this corporal punishment law allows those who teach our children to also teach our children that hitting is a good response to negative actions or words.
    How many children with special health care needs such as Brain Injury, Autism, ADHD, etc are punished by teachers under this law simply because the teacher does not accept or understand their condition? How many children are injured from these punishments? My oldest son, who has a Brain Injury, was constantly threatened with his Special Education Directors paddle because she refused to accept that he had a B.I. and refused to learn about his condition. I was called into the school several times a week during the two years he spent in High School and my son was terrorized by the Special Education Director and her favorite students. I had to allow my son to drop out of school at age 16 because of the daily harrassment, terrorization, and abuse that he suffered at the hands of his teachers and their favorites.
    Corporal punishment is wrong and that is one of the many reasons why I homeschool all of my children.